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Clarke's verdict after first Royal point

26 December 2014

Manager rues late goal conceded

Boss Steve Clarke was pleased to get his first positive result as Reading manager, but also had a tinge of disappointment after seeing his team draw 2-2 away to Brighton on Boxing Day.

Reading started very well and led in the first minute through Glenn Murray, but it was a goal 89 minutes later that proved most important as Inigo Calderon scored at the death to give the home side a point.

Steve admitted that the Seagulls deserved a point for their second half display, but also sees the draw as a building block moving forward.

He told Reading FC Player, "My feelings after that are a bit mixed - but we’re off and running and will hopefully start to move up the table now.

"We had a great start, came quickly out of the blocks and got ourselves in front. We started the game really well and were in total control. It was disappointing to concede from a long throw, we knew it was coming but we didn’t deal with the first one very well; we panicked a bit. Obviously games change on momentum and the goal just before half time gave Brighton something to come and attack after the break.

"We, on the other hand, probably sat a little bit too deep, tried to defend and didn’t use the ball well enough in the second half. If we had, then I think we could’ve scored a third. We didn’t and we got punished for it."

There was much to be pleased about and he continued, "The positive is my first point for Reading Football Club, so I’m happy with that. A lot of aspects of the game were good. We played some good stuff and showed that we can come away from home and score goals. We didn’t manage the ball well enough in the second half and if we had then I think it could’ve been a different story.

"I felt we needed fresh legs in the second half which is where the changes stemmed from. We needed a bit of freshness after the hour, young Jake Taylor had done great and then I thought Shaun [Cummings] would try to shore up that side, they'd got a lot of crosses in from there. It almost worked - but not quite."

Asked about the impressive Adam Federici, Steve said, "Adam made some good saves, some important saves and we know what we've got with him and his shot-stopping.

"Overall, first half our shape was good and we restricted Brighton, second half we were still getting blocks and clearances in, but we weren't keeping the ball for long enough.

"That's what you have to do, and funnily enough at 2-2 we looked more dangerous and kept it better, I wanted that from the start of the half but we couldn't manage it. It's something to work on."

Lastly, the boss said Garath McCleary has an outside chance of making the Norwich game after missing the trip to Brighton with an injury picked up in training.

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